Stargazing is amongst my favorite hobbies. Cosmic perspective makes me feel like a speck of dust and time dilation gives me a headache. It is so wonderful. But! These are some facts that you can share to gain some major brownie points (or nerd points) with your friends.
- Polaris is the scientific name of the North Star! It is the same amount of degrees above the horizon as your latitude. So, if you are at 45 degree latitude, Polaris will be at a 45 degree angle from your horizon!
- The sun is the closest star to Earth at 92.96 million miles away. Which is about 3.7 times the circumference of the Earth at the equator.
- It takes 4.3 years for light from the closest star to the sun to reach Earth. This is only 1 light second. Therefore, when you see the light from stars in the sky, you are seeing the light that was emitted years ago from stars that may not even be there anymore.
- Shooting stars are really just burning cosmic dust.
- There are 100-400 billion stars just in our galaxy with about 100 billion planets. Whereas, our closest galaxy, Andromeda has 1 trillion stars.
- When you look into the sky, it is said that on a perfect night, you can see 6,000-8,000 stars with your naked eye.
- Stars aren’t actually twinkling! They just appear to be due to turbulence in our air distorting the light.
- Venus is the 3rd brightest object in our sky behind our moon and the sun!
- There are 88 identified constellations! Cepheus, Cassiopeia, and Draco are some of my favorites!
- We just witnessed two neutron stars colliding that happened 130million years ago. The light just hit Earth on August 17th, 2017. The collision emitted a gravitational wave and the densest visible material known. 1 tsp of this material is heavier than Mount Everest. Let that sink in. Watch this video for more info.
These are just 10 cool Astronomy facts but you can find more by listening to the endless podcasts on the Podcast app, watching Cosmos on Netflix, reading some of NASA’s website or doing a google search! Astronomy is an extremely fascinating topic that will leave you mind blown every time you look up at the stars. Always, take time to look at the stars and enter awe, you might just get a few free wishes out of it.
Own Less. Live More. Love Lots. Explore.